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Get Deodorant Build Up Out of Clothes

Let me share with you how easy to get deodorant stains out of black shirts, remove deodorant build up out of clothes, as well as ugly yellow stains from the armpit area of white shirts and how to remove white deodorant marks in a jiffy!

There’s no need to throw away your favorite shirts or black dress just because of deodorant build up and underarm stains.

close up armpit view of a dark black t-shirt with caked on underarm deodorant stains before treating to remove those stains successfully

The good news is I'm spilling the beans on a few of the best methods, including the baking soda method, for removing white streaks and white deodorant stains from dark shirts and yellowish stains from white t-shirts and white clothing easily.

White tank top with yellow stains in left armpit area before treating for stains and stain free in right underarm area.
Undershirt before and after using deodorant on light blue background, top view

And yes, these methods even work on crusty stains.

The complete directions for each method and helpful tips and notes can be found throughout this post.

Please note that some methods are ONLY for white clothes as they can remove or alter the color of darker clothes.

Always check the care label of your garment first for any special instructions.

The supplies, other than a washing machine, vary somewhat for each method but are included before the instructions.

First up, my favorite method but as you keep scrolling you'll see a few more that work well.

*This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a commission if you shop through them. You can read my full disclosure here

black shirts - The Vinegar and Baking Soda Method

This is a good option for dark clothing including black t-shirts but it can also be used as a stain remover on whites and lighter colored items.

Supplies Needed:

White t-shirt with yellow armpit stains and black shirt with stain remover on them.

Trial and Error

The first time I did this I treated and scrubbed the cleaning solution on the outside armpit area of the shirt which doesn’t make me the sharpest knife in the drawer but it still worked on the stubborn stains so it is definitely an effective way to get the affected area clean.

Going forward though, and what I am recommending to you, is that you turn the shirt inside out to remove deodorant build-up and any sweat stain. It’s best to have direct contact with the problem area, the area of the build-up or stains.

So, now that that’s settled, ignore the fact that the shirt in these pictures is right side out. Turn your piece of clothing inside out for best results.

I tried using my regular stain remover and I tried scrubbing those areas with my favorite laundry detergent but nothing seemed to work well on this type of stubborn stain.

Since I didn't want to throw out all of our shirts I decided to do some research and experimenting to see if I could find anything that really worked and, thankfully, I did.

Using the same techniques I used to figure out how to remove blood stains from fabric, I went to work on these stains trying baking soda, rubbing alcohol, and more of my standard go-to's and then hit upon the perfect combination.

Let’s Get to Work and Remove Those Tough Stains

Black t-shirt with built up deodorant being treated with baking soda to remove stains

Place the shirt on a dry towel, folded in half (the towel will be folded in half, not the shirt). Generously sprinkle baking soda on the area of the build-up.

Scrub lightly with the toothbrush or scrubber gently working the baking soda into the fabric and then pour vinegar directly on top of the baking soda

There will be a cool eruption, bubbling, and gurgling. Let the chemical reaction work its magic for a few minutes before proceeding to the next step.

Black t-shirt with baking soda and vinegar sprinkles on armpit area to remove deodorant build up.

If you're so inclined have your littles watch the process and tell them it's a science experiment. They'll get a kick out of it and think you're super cool.

Once the eruption and chemical process has stopped, scrub the area once again using a scrubbing brush and then wash as usual with your regular laundry detergent.

Close up of underarm area of a black t-shirt after being treated to remove deodorant build up

The Results

I was really happy at how well this worked and how little effort it took.  My husband's shirts look wearable again and I don't have to cause a distraction when we're out so people look at me and not the white stains. Okay, so they weren't that bad but I do feel much better now.

*I didn't worry about anything happening to my husband's shirt when I set out on this experiment because I had nothing to lose but you may opt to test the vinegar and baking soda on an inconspicuous area of your clothing first before taking the plunge. 

Baking Soda and Peroxide (White Clothing Only)

This tip is the best way to remove yellow armpit stains from light clothing.

Supplies:

  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Water
  • Old toothbrush or small scrubbing brush

The ratio of ingredients is simple to remember: One part hydrogen peroxide, one part baking soda, and one part water.

  1. Mix equal amounts of each ingredient in a small container until a thick paste forms and apply the mixture using a clean toothbrush to the stained area scrubbing in a circular motion.
  2. Allow the mixture to 'sit' on the fabric for 30 minutes to one hour and then launder as usual.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Dawn Dish Soap (White Clothing Only)

Supplies:

  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Dawn dish soap
  • Toothbrush or small scrubbing brush
  1. Mix well ⅓ cup of hydrogen peroxide with ¼ cup of Dawn.
  2. Use a toothbrush to rub the area of the sweat stains in a circular motion making sure to scrub the entire area thoroughly.
  3. Let sit for one hour.
  4. Launder as usual.

Baking Soda and Water

This can be used in a pinch but isn't as effective as the other methods described above.

  1. Mix equal parts baking soda and warm water.
  2. Apply to stained area using a toothbrush to spread it on in a thick layer and and then proceed to scrub in a circular motion.
  3. Allow area to dry and then launder as usual.

Another In a Pinch Option:

Aspirin - crush up a aspirin and mix with a half a cup of HOT water! Soak the stain with the solution for a few hours before laundering as usual.

How to Remove White Deodorant Marks from Dark Clothing

There are several ways to do this and they all work well and work best on fresh stains.

  • Use a damp cloth to remove white marks. Make sure the washcloth is only slightly wet and swipe rapidly over the area until all of your unwanted streaks are gone.
  • Baby wipes or face wipes work great but be careful to NOT use disinfecting wipes, which can contain harsh chemicals or bleach that can damage clothing.
  • Magic Erasers - yes, a Magic Eraser will do the trick as well! Give it a try with just a little bit of water, squeeze, and wipe. You'll be amazed at how well this works.

Tips for Preventing Sweat Stains

  • Stop using traditional antiperspirant and switch to an aluminum-free deodorant, such as Lume which is a safe whole body deodorant, to help to alleviate the issue.
  • Make your own all-natural deodorant like this one.
  • Use deodorant sparingly and allow it to dry completely before getting dressed.
  • Launder your shirts and clothing as soon as possible after sweating in them.
  • Wear undershirts that stop sweat stains such as Thompson Tee (for men and women). Thompson Tee's patented Sweat Proof Technology stops underarm sweat stains and odor for good.
  • Use armpit pads.

How to Remove Crusty Stains

Use any of the methods above but first, use a meat tenderizer to 'tenderize' the area of the crustiness. This may sound odd, but it does work!

What causes sweat stains?

Sweat stains are caused by aluminum chloride (aluminum salts) which is an active ingredient that makes antiperspirants work. The combination of sweat mixed with the aluminum is what causes the unsightly yellow stains.

How to Get Deodorant Buildup Out of Clothes

How to remove deodorant build up and stains from black clothes as well as ugly yellow stains from the armpit area and white deodorant marks.
Print How-To
1 min
Additional Time:5 mins
Total Time:6 mins

Supplies

Instructions

  • Turn clothing inside out.
  • Generously sprinkle baking soda on the area of the build-up.
  • Scrub lightly with a scrubber or toothbrush.  
  • There will be a cool eruption, bubbling, and gurgling. Let the chemical reaction work its magic for a few minutes before proceeding to the next step.
  • Once the eruption and chemical process has stopped, scrub the area once again using a scrubbing brush and then wash as usual.

Notes

I didn't worry about anything happening to my husband's shirt when I set out on this experiment because I had nothing to lose but you may opt to test the vinegar and baking soda on an inconspicuous area of your clothing first before taking the plunge. 
Author: Mary Beth
Cost: $1.00

Thank you so much for stopping by and if you have any additional tips or techniques for how to remove deodorant buildup from clothes, I'd love to hear them.

Before you throw out that shirt try this simple laundry hack to remove white and crusted underarm deodorant buildup easily.

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4 Comments

  1. Pingback: 7 Ways to Remove Deodorant Stains from Black Shirts - Howto
  2. You mention baking power and baking soda. Is it baking soda to use?

    Thanks.

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Hello Laura. Thank you so much for letting me know that there was an error in the post. It is baking soda and not baking powder.